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Dart 18 mast base/mast at bottom where meets hound  Bottom

  • I need advice ,but European sites not responding. My Dart 18mast on Fire Isle N.Y. appears to be "collapsing at the bottom! This occurred with a prior mast(I have 2 Dart 18s now, 1 in Fla, lost a 3rd to a hurricane)and resulted in mast coming down while sailing in very light wind and much turbulance. Dart 18s masts bottoms are designed to contact a "hound" at center of front cross beam but without benefit of teflon ball as on my Nacra, 5.7 or as on my sailing mates N5.0,N570 etcetc. looking at bottom of mast that ' failed' a few years ago i saw a tiny stainless metal plate perhaps "1by3" very thin, but i dont see it on present mast bottom- what i noticed when we took down mast for the season was that i could not fit a "safety" steel pin thru the hole in the mast hound used to secure mast when raising and lowering because the bottom of the mast sat down so far on the hound! A note my cat is moored on Great South Bay so mast up May thru Oct, yes i have oversized stays and lots of gizmos we developed to keep masts up in the elements,eg tie down mast so it wont rotate, etc, but cat takes hugh wear and tear because of this. All suggestions and insight welcome. If it becomes safe I will go to Fort Lauderdale this winter and examine mast on my DART 18 THERE BUT MAST HAS BEEN UP SINCE LAST tHANKSGIVING MOORED ON lAKE eMERALD. My Darts are 1990s vintage
  • My Dart definitely has the stainless steel plate. I’m told that performs the same function as the plastic cup on a Hobie mast.

    Dana, Holly, Emma & Hannah

    LJ/Stu's Dart 18
  • How r u guys? trust u r healthy and well/Thanx for quick reply/will contact windsport for part/how old is your Dart 18? My guess is the mast system is subject to wear & tear. Do u raise& lower each time you sail?
  • Hi a European dart 18 sailor here sorry you got no response from our side of the pond.The Dart 18 facebook page seams to be the best place to ask questions these days. You are right there should be a small stainless plate in the bottom of the mast. A mistake I make each time I lower the mast is loosen the forestay adjuster and I put a extra line between the bridle wires and forestay when I am not sail just to put some tension in the rig stop it rocking about and to take the load off the forestay adjuster as I only sail every other weekend and keep the mast up. Hope this is of help.
  • The small SS plate that is worn out, or missing, is known across the Pond as a “mast heel plate”. If this plate is worn completely through, the Pin in the ball may have worn into the mast base casting.
    It is the same part in the Dart/Sprint/Spark 15 as in the D18.
    The Darts do not use a Teflon washer or ball, there is a SS “pin” embedded into the ball on the front beam that this heel plate rides on. You could grease it every year, but mine took 17 years to wear out,(I too leave my cats fully rigged all season), so I don’t bother.
    They are now using a slightly thicker steel, & the part is rectangular vs round. You also need 2 money rivets to secure the plate.
    I changed this on my D15, but I can’t find the photos I took.
    I was in a hurry, & so had one made, it is dead nuts simple. Look at you old one & measure the diameter. Go to any metal shop that fabricates in SS. Ask them for a scrap disc in 3mm SS material, the same diameter as the old one. They throw away tons of these discs when punching metal for other projects. My local shop said it was quicker to punch me a new one than dig through the scrap bin. He simply grabbed a piece of scrap SS, asked how many I needed, & punched out the disc, (IIRC it is 1.125” or 1.25” diameter). Lay that disc on the old one mark it, & drill 2 holes for the monel rivets.
    Alternatively, if yours uses a rectangle, cut a wee bit of SS flat bar, drill 2 holes, rivet & go sailing.
    He didn’t charge me anything. If you go to manufacturer, they are only 6£, Which I think is about $6 USD. The advantage of having it punched is the disc comes out with a very slight concave surface. This will ensure the pin in the mast ball self centers on the plate.Obviously, make sure you rivet the new piece with the concave face against the ball.
    Brian Phipps, at Windsport, UK, can set you up with a new one, they are the builder & license owner for everything Dart. I needed a few parts form D15, you can order online, they will send out via Royal Mail, but linking up with domestic mail can be slow. Heres the site, then click on Catparts.
    The little sister to the 18, the now named Sprint 15 is the largest singlehanded class in Europe. They put out a twice yearly magazine. The Spring 08 issue has an article about exactly your issue, the fix is the same, even the same part as the 18.
    Go to MAGAZINE, then scroll down to 2008 April. Open that, the article is near the end of the magazine.

    Edited by Edchris177 on Oct 30, 2020 - 02:17 PM.

    Hobie 18 Magnum
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  • my thanks to both "Limeys" for prompt help and knowledgeable responses/ i will have to make up or order steel plate, its missing from mast i am using now. i will go on line to find article, i do silicon spray thoroughly hound and bottom of mast before "stepping "the mast. We have utilized a snubber and rope extending from forestay base at roller furler to mast base and back to forestay tightened to an extreme when cats moored, also heavy duty bungees extending from port to starboard side stays and also to hiking lines,as well as tie in mast so it does not rotate,to keep mast stable when moored. To Dart 18(Lasers) credit cats never take on water. Now all we need is a vaccine so i can go to Ft. Lauderdale by early spring to sail again, our cats out of the Bay to avoid remnants of hurricane Z, my Tornado friend Malcolm Stitt(of good UK stock) has his skis out and getting his ice boats ready it snowed just north of NYCity last night!
  • not sure it will help or fit but a bunch of us use a gator aid bottle cap as a mast bearing (like the hobie disc)
    they last a surprisingly long time and work perfectly on several boat models - not sure at all if it will on a dart
  • Hi I just use run of the mill grease I put on the trailer wheel bearings seams to last a season still got covered in it when I took the mast down last weekend. My Dart 18 used to leak like a sieve but it was a panther craft boat and the age of mine were know for being a problem they get crack along the keel lines but they were light and the fleet racers loved them as they were lighter. Last weekend winter we took the centre decks off and had to reinforce the keel lines from the inside. Worked a treat no crack or water ingress this season.
  • nofearofflyingHow r u guys? trust u r healthy and well/Thanx for quick reply/will contact windsport for part/how old is your Dart 18? My guess is the mast system is subject to wear & tear. Do u raise& lower each time you sail?

    Hey Stu! We’re great. I was sick in late June/early July (not COVID) and had surgery. I haven’t sailed since and I keep trying to get out. Our Dart is believed to be an ‘86. I do think the mast system is subject to wear and tear. The prior owner had just replaced the steel plate before I bought it. We did have some corrosion on the lower end of the mast that we repaired. I do raise/lower the mast each time I sail and store the boat under a good tarp.


    Dana, Holly, Emma & Hannah

    LJ/Stu's Dart 18
  • hello Dana & "gang", good u r well(my sailing mate Gorden -French tri 23&H16 caught covid in Saratoga Fl got better had knee replacement and is back out)we need more cats on the water. Your serial number(s) are inside your hulls, u may see them after you screw off hatch cover(which West Marine sells them 4 less than Windsport) and sail number is often indicator of age-my wife Charlene and daughter Nina(neuro surgeon- mother of 4 year old-who purchased a very expensive tarp for me to keep cat under this winter) sail as does my son Andre. Gator aid cap might be a good quick fix, i still have teflon discs we use under hobie 16&14 masts but i felt the were too thick and was not sure how they would effect contact point to small raised up 'ball' that appears to be welded on top of hound and i assume designed to contact metal plate? I always have a can of teflon spray on my wagon(no cars on Fire Island so we Schlepp sails & everything we require-eg wet suits,life vests,blocks etc) on wagons,and suggest you spray top of hound & inside of bottom mast/metal plate each time u step mast, too bad i cant master how to send photos to this site. My Fla Dart 18 is moored on a mushroom on Lake Emerald waiting to be sailed mast up rudders in place because I left it that way on 2/13/20 believing i would be back in Fla in 2 weeks! We now pray for cold weather for frozen conditions to ice boat
  • Hello across the pond & bicrider-sorry I failed to use correct terminology mast heel plate & "pin in the ball" but information treasured;I do have a tube of 'white greece' In regard to post on repairs to panther please see if You have photos and if so please post- i will promise to post my non skillful hull repairs of Dart 18 and Nacra 5.5sl and other Nacras eg N570 I am an amateur at repair but all my cats after repairs water tight & fit for sailing in extreme conditions.
  • Only took one photo I am afraid I wanted to take more but most of it we were doing it at night under a single light (and I have not got a clue how to post one on here☺️). I was also covered in fibreglass and resin not keen on trying to operate my phone. I really can’t believe the difference it has made we used to spend about a week on each hull after the end of the season grinding back,filling and sanding. This year two gellcoat chips out of one the Skeggs. Result!!!
  • i can and will email shawesq@gmail.com or text 9175624696 any photos requested
  • No ? about it-small steel plate missing from bottom of mast ! will order and attach in spring 2021-i suppose it must be solderred on but not sure exactly w here will try to post here bottom of inside mast photos which will show a "pimple" /small ball that is there-thanks to all who responded and photos of other Dart 18s welcome, not too many on this side of the pond

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